Parliament Dismisses Another Two Ministers


The Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) on Sunday dismissed another two ministers – in their absence – for failing to spend their development budgets.

Parliament summoned the education minister, Asadullah Hanif Balkhi, the minister of transport and civil aviation, Mohammadullah Batash, and Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi.

None of them however appeared before parliament – where they were supposed to give a report back on how much of their development budgets they had spent.

Education Minister Asadullah Hanif Balkhi received 68 votes in his favor but 131 against him. Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Mohammadullah Batash got 51 votes of confidence and 142 against him.

On the other hand Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi with 85 votes of confidence and 112 votes against him survived.

The Afghan constitution gives parliament the power to sack ministers.

This comes after President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah met with a delegation from parliament on Saturday night where they asked the MPs to delay their impeachment process.

However, MPs failed to heed the request and went ahead with their vote of confidence Sunday despite the absence of the three ministers.

MPs meanwhile also called on government two introduce new ministers for the now vacant posts.

This comes after Saturday’s session where MPs dismissed three ministers after they failed to provide satisfactory reports on the spending of development budgets.

The ministers were Minister of Public Works Mahmood Baligh; Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled Nasreen Oryakhil, and Salahuddin Rabbani, the minister of foreign affairs.

Parliament announced last week that it would summon ministers from Saturday over their failure to spend their development budgets.

Following Saturday night’s meeting at the presidential palace, Ghani said in a statement: “We are committed to the principle of bringing reforms and transparent accountability, and we respect the principle of division of power.”

He added: “We see the good of this nation in holding constructive discussions with the representatives of the people in the National Assembly, but the solution is in your hands as to what decisions you will make for the good and prosperity of the people.”

Ghani said: “The government expects that the impeachment process of the ministers is postponed.” He said that at least a hundred countries in the world have similar problems in terms of expenditure of budget and out of them, only a small number have managed to address the problem.

“The government has taken important steps to implement the budget and improve the financial and budgetary system in the country,” he added.

The president said that budget expenditure in the year of 1395 (2016) had improved significantly.

Ghani stressed that “we are not looking to have a confrontation with Wolesi Jirga as we have held 30 joint and consultative meetings with members of the National Assembly.”

In this meeting Abdullah said that the year of 1394 (2015) was “a difficult year as we were going through a special situation. He underscored that implementation of projects directly depend on security.”

Meanwhile, Abdullah added: “We are concerned that your decision to impeach ministers would further slow down budget expenditure; if a better way is thought out for overcoming these challenges, it can prevent emergence of further problems.”

But speaker of the Wolesi Jirga Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi said MPs “understand that government has a good intention, but Wolesi Jirga will proceed based on the authorities granted to it by the constitution, and the people’s representatives also have good intentions.”

Ibrahimi said that the president heads the three branches of the state and has always maintained good cooperation with Wolesi Jirga, and in two years has established good and close ties with all the three branches.

Ibrahimi underscored the importance of maintaining good relations between the government and Wolesi Jirga, and hoped that the joint consultative meetings continue.

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